MAASTRICHT. The head of UM Sports, Nico Freriks, has handed in his notice as of 1 February. He had the position since mid-June 2018. A difference of opinion concerning the “expectations, vision and future” of UM Sports was supposedly the underlying reason, says Pascal Breuls, director of Student Services Centre and Freriks' immediate boss.
Freriks took over from Birgitte Hendrickx last summer - she said farewell after ruling the roost for twenty years - following on to become a member of the board of directors at SSC. He is a former top volleyball player who played 347 matches for the Dutch national team. In 2018 he completed the executive MBA of Sports Management at the Maastricht School of Management and worked as a project manager for JOGG (Jongeren Op Gezond Gewicht, Youths at a Healthy Weight) in the municipality of Horst aan de Maas before coming to Maastricht. He had no experience with student sports.
Breuls did not want to discuss the how and why of the departure, except that “the labour agreement was discontinued after thoughtful consideration by both parties”. The fact that within UM Sports there has been unrest for some time about things such as personnel policy (‘minor’ appointments, no prospect of expansion) or the course, he calls “greatly exaggerated. There are differences of opinion here and there, but that is the same everywhere”. Freriks did not wish to comment.
A replacement will be looked for as soon as possible, said Breuls, who emphasised how “proud” he is to be head of the sports department. As far as UM Sports' course is concerned: “I am going set this out with the team and the new department head.” He hopes that he/she will start work after the summer. Exactly who will do the honours in the meantime, is not clear yet.